The Services Lives of Crankshaft Bearings

Posted on April 29, 2021 James Williams The Services Lives of Crankshaft Bearings

Bearings are components that are crucial to countless assemblies, ensuring that friction is reduced and that motion is constrained to specific movements. For automobiles engines in particular, bearings are paramount to the functionality of equipment such as the crankshaft, allowing it to be supported and protected from the forces of friction. As the failure of crankshaft bearings can quickly lead to engine damage or failure, it is important that they are inspected and maintained regularly.

Generally speaking, crankshaft bearings will most likely fail due to the functions of other engine components, rather than its own operations. As such, it can be more difficult to predict when a particular bearing needs repair or placement. Bearings ideally should have indefinite service lives, but their copper and lead compound construction results in certain weaknesses that must be accounted for. The highest concern for crankshaft bearings is lubrication as it ensures minimal friction during operations. To best protect bearings, they should be regularly supplied with clean oil that is free from any debris or foreign matter.
Nevertheless, there are also a number of other common factors which may result in the failure of a bearing. Excessive heat can damage countless components, and it is often caused by oil that is not properly cooling assemblies. Pressure can also have an effect on bearings, and many are rated for their ability to withstand such forces. If there are chemicals or acids present in contaminated oil, etching and corrosion may occur. Dirt and debris is also detrimental as it will scratch the bearings and surrounding engine components. With poor circulation, a blockage, or leaking, bearings may dry out and begin to fail. This is also the result of bearings that are either incorrectly fitted or are the wrong size. Lastly, metal-on-metal contact is very damaging for crankshaft bearings, and it typically results from poor oil flow and drying out.
While directly discerning whether or not crankshaft bearings are failing may be more difficult, one may utilize the health of the oil supply system as an indicator. As oil issues often lead to the failure of bearings, a compromised oil supply system may mean that premature wear has begun. In any situation, a leaking oil supply should warrant immediate attention and maintenance should be conducted before operating the vehicle again.
If the crankshaft bearings are allowed to fail, they can quickly cause a number of issues throughout the engine. With high friction, heat, and metal-to-metal contact, the connecting rods and crankshaft may begin distorting. As a result of the warped crankshaft and connecting rod assemblies, the engine will quickly seize. When such occurrences happen, the automobile engine will need to be fully disassembled and reassembled for repair.

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